Ask a Question forum→Drooping Croton - Help !

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North Vancouver
far_out
May 19, 2020 11:02 AM CST
Hi there,

I've been having problems with my Croton plant. I had re-potted it into this terra cotta pot just under a month ago due to its leaves dropping and because it was becoming too big for its previous pot. I usually allow the leaves to droop slightly before watering it but I noticed just over a week ago that it never bounced back and it actually just flattened completely.

I included a picture of a soil reading metre.
I guess I thought I had over watered it so I let the soil dry completely a few times then I would water it and it still wasn't standing up again.

I'm very confused.

Any help is greatly appreciated.


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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
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sallyg
May 19, 2020 11:05 AM CST
Hi, Welcome!
Croton is not an 'easy' plant. Someone with experience will advise.
Repotting can be a stress on the plant. Prepare to describe more about that, did you remove existing soil or not..
I think this pot is too big actually.
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
North Vancouver
far_out
May 19, 2020 11:09 AM CST
sallyg said:Hi, Welcome!
Croton is not an 'easy' plant. Someone with experience will advise.
Repotting can be a stress on the plant. Prepare to describe more about that, did you remove existing soil or not..
I think this pot is too big actually.


Thank you, I'm very excited about this forum!!

I did use some of the previous soil and add new soil. I'll attach an image of the previous pot used.


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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
Image
sallyg
May 19, 2020 11:35 AM CST
Thanks!
So it was directly in the white one, that has no holes?
Doe the new pot have holes?
When plants come in cheap plastic nursery pots, it actually works really well to keep them in those pots and set that inside a solid one such as the white, PROVIDED you do not leave water sitting in the ceramic pot.

"We' don't always answer immediately like a chat, I just happened to be here.. some others may have more information but it may be a day or two.
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
North Vancouver
far_out
May 19, 2020 11:44 AM CST
Yes that's correct! I did put a good few inches of rocks at the bottom to prevent root rot from watering. The new pot has one good sized hole at the bottom so I just assumed it wouldn't need any rocks.

Judging by the moisture metre I think that the soil isn't too wet from lack of drainage.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
Image
sallyg
May 19, 2020 4:30 PM CST
OK, now we know more.
The rocks for drainage thing is, unfortunately, bad advice that won't die.

Decent potting mix does not need rocks in the bottom.
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
North Vancouver
far_out
May 19, 2020 8:23 PM CST
Thank you for the advice. I had no idea that rocks wouldn't provide proper drainage.

I'll take a look into mixing my own soil from now on!

Also thank you for letting me know it might take a few days for more responses! Your help is greatly appreciated.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
Image
sallyg
May 20, 2020 5:17 AM CST
How long have you had this by the way?

Croton likes bright light and warm places, it is a landscape garden plant in tropical areas.

At this point, you probably should leave this pot alone. If it is not in bright enough light, any recovery will be slow or not at all.

Moisture meters are not always the best judge. But I expect this soil to dry slowly, because the pot is big.

You don't have to mix your own mix, just buy a good quality bag of mix made of peat and perlite.

If someone else is more experienced with Croton and wants to chime in, I certainly welcome that. Smiling
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 20, 2020 9:14 AM CST
I'm not sure what caused the initial drooping before the repotting. In general, if you wait for the leaves to droop before watering, you have waited too long. In any case, repotting it was not the solution to the initial problem.

The repotting has added to the stress, however. If you disturbed the roots by removing any of the original soil, then you inadvertently damaged some tiny root hairs that are very important. The repotting has also made proper watering more difficult. Moisture meters are notoriously accurate so that may be contributing to the problem.

Remove any soil you added to the top of the original rootball when you repotted as that soil prevents oxygen from penetrating the root zone readily and makes it harder to determine when to water. Then, allow the surface of the rootball to feel almost dry before watering. Crotons don't tolerate dry soil.

Keep your Croton close to a sunny window. Recovery will probably be slow and you may lose some additional leaves.

Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
North Vancouver
far_out
May 21, 2020 9:28 AM CST
Hi Will!

Thank you so much for the advice :-)

So, I had decided to re-pot because some leaves were dropping, and when I took the plant out of its white pot I noticed that it's roots had grown so much it was wrapping around the bottom of the soil which is what I assumed the "rootball" is? Anyhow, I assumed that the plant had just outgrown it's pot. Could you advise on this, please? I just looked up a few videos on youtube now and I realize now that the roots weren't crazy overgrown and there were just a few long roots around the bottom of the soil. What I did was I loosened up the soil around the roots and used the previous soil and some new potting soil. I then placed some of that mixed soil into the bottom of the pot and gently placed the plant on top (about 3/4 into the pot) then filled the rest of the pot with mixed soil.

I also didn't know that having the leaves droop wasn't a good way to indicate when I should be watering the plant. I have another Croton that is about 15" high and I always have waited for it to droop before watering, and it's very happy. Though I take your word over mine as I actually have no idea what I'm doing, hahaha.

I am curious as to what you mean by removing soil from the top of the rootball because isn't the rootball at the bottom of the plant?

Thank you again!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 21, 2020 5:01 PM CST
A healthy rootball will have roots wrapped around the entire outside of the soil and spread evenly throughout. I suspect from your description, that because you were letting the soil get too dry the roots were all growing toward the bottom where the soil remained damp. That left the upper portion of the soil dry and relatively rootless. Whatever wilting was occurring was due to the soil getting too dry. The solution would have been to water more frequently so the upper portion of the soil never got that dry.

Brush away any loose soil from the top surface so that the uppermost visible roots are just barely covered with soil. Then water your plant as soon as the remaining half-inch of soil feels almost dry to the touch. Always water thoroughly so that some water trickles through the drain hole.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
North Vancouver
far_out
May 21, 2020 5:04 PM CST
I will definitely do this and be more careful about watering my plants.

I had over watered my monstera back in the fall so I suppose I've been pretty weary about over watering. I'm seeing now that I need to find a good balance.

Thank you for helping me!

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 21, 2020 5:08 PM CST
Happy to help!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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